I've been giving semi-serious thought to putting a bid into the next round of elections for governorship of Idaho (as a step up to federal level)... kind of a last chance for democracy to work, in my opinion.
I would run as an independent, probably... though I may decide to pursue a party nomination if I can do so without compromising any of my ideals (fat chance there).
Since I'm not a moneyed individual, and would be campaigning against many moneyed interests, I've decided that traditional advertising would be next to useless.
Instead, I would take a two-pronged both old- and new-fashioned approach.
First, internet; flood the social media networks as best I can, put up youtube speeches, put up a well-made and well-tended website. Of course that's hardly enough on its own, but I'm thinking perhaps I could make an impact and a very favorable impression by making a strict policy of personally responding to every person who contacts me.
Secondly, the old-fashioned road tour. Again, paying extra attention to respond personally to each and every question put to me. While on it, highlight my difference from regular politicians: just an ordinary guy in ordinary clothes puttering around on a cheap motorcycle and talking about politics. No fancy suit, no hairdresser, no limo convoy or tour bus.
I'm hoping to appeal to people's stances on the issues, their mistrust of politics-as-usual, and their desire to get an 'average joe' in charge, not one of the elite.
Now, what could be the most interesting to discuss part of this plan: the platform I would run on.
In order of how much I would emphasize it during the campaign:
Increase of minimum wage
...particularly for tipped workers, who only get paid $2.13 per hour, no matter if they actually receive any tips or not.
The economy has recovered, just wages haven't. Business profits are at an all-time high, while wages are at an all-time low. -- That needs to change, and a substantial increase in minimum wage is one way to help that happen.
I would pressure the state legislature to institute a flat rate (applied to all workers equally) minimum wage of at least $9.50 per hour. and to tie it into the inflation rate to automatically increase and decrease with inflation.
Legalization of marijuana
Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and should be taxed and regulated, not banned.
This will increase state revenues, pay for rehab programs, and greatly reduce the workload of law enforcement, the courts, and the prisons.
I would use my power as head of the executive branch to halt all state and local enforcement and prosecution for the growing, distributing, posession, and use of marijuana.
I would use my power as governor to grant a pardon to all current prison inmates incarcerated (solely) for non-violent marijuana related crimes (except DUI)
I would pressure the state legislature to pass measures disallowing federal authorities from taking action in cases involving marijuana grown, sold, and consumed within the state. (As the 'regulating interstate trade' justification is invalid in that case.)
I would emphasize my stance on federal government being restricted to the powers set forth in the constitution. (This is very popular in Idaho.)
Smaller, more manageable government
I would emphasize my stance that, when possible, the government should be the one that sets and enforces the rules of the game; it shouldn't itself be a player of the game though.
I would emphasize a love of nature and a desire to see the many parks and preserves in Idaho flourish, with an emphasis on making them better available to sustainable use, largely through road-building and road-paving projects (which, by the way, will create lots of jobs).
I would emphasize a desire to help the state convert to more alternative and sustainable energy sources. I would propose tax incentives as a way to do that. (the sneaky bit is: that could include negative incentives on 'bad' energy sources -- those make sense, as it charges people for the damage their energy choices do to the state as a whole)
I would emphasize a desire to make corporations who pollute pay for their actions, more often than they do now, and more substantially than they do now. I would pressure the state legislature to increase penalties for industrial pollution, and I would instruct state and local law enforcement agencies to put a high emphasis on detecting and prosecuting such crimes.
I would campaign as a firm supporter of the 2nd amendment, and an avid gun owner myself.
I would, however, voice my support for universal background checks. (Without registration or government database building)
I would voice my opinion that many of the places where weapons are currently banned (schools for example) should instead allow lawful concealed carry of firearms, and I would pressure the state legislature to pass bills legalizing licensed CCW permit holders to carry firearms in some of these areas. (Which would include things like allowing school teachers to arm themselves) This would not be universal; there would still be some no-carry areas, such as bars.
I would instruct state and local law enforcement to crack down on illegally possessed and illegally sold firearms, and I would pressure the state legislature to increase the penalties for owning or selling guns illegally. -- At the same time, I would begin a law enforcement no-questions-asked gun buyback program, paying 10% less than market price for any gun brought in, then reselling these to legal owners at market price. (thus paying for the program)
I would make clear that the emphasis on legal gun ownership vs. illegal gun ownership is because the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally owned weapons. I would emphasize (possibly even make a slogan out of) keeping guns out of the wrong hands and in the right hands: the hands of law-abiding citizens.
I would pressure for a publicity campaign and tax breaks in favor of gun locks and gun safes, in the interest of preventing legally owned guns from becoming illegally owned guns.
Crackdown on dangerous illegal drugs
I would take harsher actions against illegal drugs other than marijuana, but targeted at dealers and producers, not targeted at consumers.
I would instruct state and local law enforcement to offer to set anyone arrested on drug possession charges free without charge if that person gives information leading to the arrest of the dealer(s) and/or producer(s) of the drugs... Thus, I go easy on the victims of the drug war, and instead go after the real villains: the pushers.
Mid-level dealers and distributors will be able to get reduced sentences for giving information leading to the arrest of the people higher up the chain who they got the drugs from.
Campaign finance reform
While it would not really be within my power as a state governor to fix this, I would emphasize that getting the money out of politics is absolutely essential, and that the presence of this problem prevents us from fixing many other problems, which is why it's so important.
I'd give a warning to the other politicians out there: I'll be telling state law enforcement to put high emphasis on ferreting out any corrupt practices that can be prosecuted under current law.
I'd also pressure the state legislature to pass additional anti-corruption measures.
I'd state that the tax code should be revised to be far simpler and eliminate loopholes used by corporations and the rich.
Mostly a national issue, but since Idaho has an income tax, it is also a state issue.
I think abortion should be perfectly legal and easy during the first trimester, it should require the payment of fines and the attendance of contraception classes during the second trimester, and it should be illegal except in cases of medical necessity during the third trimester.
I would pressure the state legislature to adopt this as Idaho law.
Failing that, I would pressure them to adopt as law that pregnancies near enough to birth that the fetus might survive as a premature birth are illegal to abort. (determining the possibility of survival by the earliest known premature birth to survive for at least a year)
I think this is a reasonable position that can get support from both sides of the debate, and should be possible to popularize with the largely right-wing population by emphasizing that -- while not a complete ban like they want -- it is more action on that front than any conservative politician in the country can offer. (After all, lots of politicians say they're against abortion, but none of them ever do anything about it, do they?)
While not much can be done at the state level about this, I would make it clear that my stance is that the only permanent solution is to make legal immigration into the US cheap, quick, and easy. This would free up law enforcement time and effort, would boost the economy and tax revenues with many new legal, tax-paying workers, and would eliminate most of the problems associated with illegal immigration. Who would immigrate illegally if it was cheap, quick, and easy to do it legally? It would also allow our border police to focus on the more important threats of terrorists and drug/gun smugglers.
(I'd also not mention this one often, on the assumption that this stance wouldn't be well received by much of my target audience.)
If the topic comes up, I would label myself as a strong supporter of animal rights.
If a fortuitously timed news story comes up about some particularly bad animal abuse, I may take the opportunity for good publicity by publicly condemning it and promising better enforcement of animal abuse laws... or perhaps I'll dig around to find such stories, and use them as an emotional lever to get support. (Look at these poor, horribly abused animals. Elect me, and I'll do better than most at trying to stop this!)
I'd come out as strongly against any kind of internet censorship, though this isn't really a state-level issue.
I would be vehement on this point, but I would not bring it up often, given my target audience.
I think that marriage should not be something you ask the government for permission to do.
I would pressure the state legislature to rewrite the state laws so that people no longer apply for a license to marry before they get married. Instead, they would file a report of marriage after getting married.
The crucial difference there is that people are no longer asking the government's permission to get married, they are just telling the government that they got married... and then, the government (in theory) has no say in who can and can't get married.
(In practice, though, it would pretty much just be legalization of gay marriage, since reports of marriage between man & goat, a 45 year old man & a 12 year old girl, or a pair of siblings would still be rejected. (and raise flags for law enforcement in some cases) I do, however, think it addresses an important philosophical point. ... and after all, politics is just applied philosophy, just as engineering is applied science.)
...that's all I can think of at the moment, I may add more as more things come up.
So, what do you think about the idea?
What do you think of my chances of making this actually happen on a shoestring budget?
Care to debate the merit of my stances on any of these issues?
Joining a political party would mean that you would have more power as your ideas would more likely to take effect as there would be members of the party in power agreeing to vote in support of your decision. However, a disadvantage is that you cannot make decisions that your party disagrees because you could possibly bring up an argument between party members or rhey might not allow you to do so. Good luck if you are running for office
You would get my vote for sure. As a friend of several people that have made bids for state legislative seats (house and senate), and of whom campaigns I have worked on I have first hand tips.
1. Expect lots of local support from friends, family, etc, but when it comes to convincing other people, they are dead stuck in their ways, age prejudices in particular. Both of my friends that ran were in their late 20's and had been involved in politics for many years. Both were very intelligent and willing to stand and convince others of their beliefs. They lived and breathed campaigning for a solid year of their lives, but at the end of the day people voted for the status quo, and that is heartbreaking to see and experience first hand.
It's like running a marathon for an entire year, and thinking your in the lead, because everyone around you supports you, just to find out that in reality you only got 35% of the vote.
2. As we know people don't want change. Even the liberals who stand up and shout change at the top of their lungs don't want the change that can actually save us. Both parties are made up of old elitist white guys that don't want to change.
3. If you are willing to put everything you got, go door to door everyday with a smile on your face, recruit friends, family to do the same all with the possibility of losing, than I say do it. Do it for the chance that you can say I tried, do it for the possibility that you will succeed, and be a key player in waking our nation out of its politically stigmatic stupor.
Just be willing to hold on to your sanity when the Fox news horde lambasts you for your environmentalism and animal rights, and when the Huff post nutties come attacking for your gun beliefs and smaller government agenda.
People don't want to hear viewpoints that complicate matters and produce more choices they want it to be stigmatized. Left vs. right, white vs black, poor vs rich, it's just easier that way. Its easier to hate another than to try and understand why someone has that belief, and sympathize. Sympathizing makes us weak they say.
Long story short, I say do it.
1. Revoke Obama's medical insurance law as unconstitutional for the Federal Government to meddle in.
2. Give the power that the Federal Government has taken from the States back to the States. I.e. Federal Government should only legislate in the areas that were given to them by the original Constitution viz.
3. Reinstate the laws (that had been repealed in 1999) where Banks were only allowed to do business in banking, and not allowed to mingle their banking business with selling investments and properties to their own customers in the process enriching themselves and moving billions of dollars from the middle class (impoverishing them) to a small percentage of the mega rich.
Source: New York Times
4. Related to the above, use steps to get small banks to be created in the communities where they are needed, instead of having to deal with impersonal and faceless banking corporations who are mostly invisible to your man in the street. Get this funded by shifting the burden of income tax to the small percentage of mega rich. That would help to get loans to the people who need to start small businesses.
And it goes without saying, I'll vote for you and I'll give you my time free of charge to help you get elected. I'm sure there would be something I could help with on the Internet. I'll also focus on all of the pensioners who have lost billions in total to the greedy banks. And make arrangements for them to be taken to the polling stations to vote for you.
PS: Just come across this post that contains plenty of quotable lines for an awesome campaign. I particularly like:
I can't comment on the chances of your policies being accepted where you are, but I have to say on first read I'm mostly of a similar mind to yours. I would be drawn towards voting for a candidate with your policies in any election here.
I would not advocate these though:
Bulk buying saves money in the illegal markets as well, so the guy going to the store is just doing a job for the group, he/she is no more guilty than the rest, even though technically it is an act of supply.
Employers know they'll work harder or longer for the same money or even just ignore the minimum wage if it still works out a good investment with higher wages than back home.
I've worked with a few good guys who've been honest and explained their plan, 1 or 2 years work here, multiple living in a shared room until they have saved enough to pay for the small house and land bought in the home nation.
Migration between countries has many issues which if made easily open to all need much consideration. Romania and Bulgaria are getting the green light for the UK next January. The average net wage in the UK is 4-5 times that of Romania. Unskilled jobs would be better filled by struggling people from the UK right now, not providing a '1 or 2 year mortgage' for properties in other parts of the EU.
*Edit* All jobs which the UK does not struggle to find workers for should be filled by UK nationals in my opinion. I would also make our welfare/cash benefit rules tougher to encourage the lazy UK people into unskilled work though. It is one of the reasons employers are happy to take an EU national who will work harder than a Brit who is only slightly better off than receiving benefits for doing nothing.
I'm just about certain that no party would have me anyhow.
The parties are the way the rich old white guys who run things keep candidates they don't like out of the election. ... and with my anti-corporate views, they definitely won't like me.
Yeah, that might very well happen.
Sounds a lot like my case, actually, but I think I may need to try anyway.
I'm hoping to bypass the elitist white guys and go straight to the voters. I know I can't change the elite, but maybe -- just maybe -- regular people will listen.
You hit on some of my reasons exactly.
Mainly to be able to say 'I tried; I did my best; if that wasn't good enough, well so be it'... but also for that slim, daft little chance that it might actually work and I'd actually be able to make an impact... more of an impact than I can right now just telling people how wrong things are from the sidelines, anyway.
As a wise man once said, 'there's no such thing as bad publicity'. ^.^
What I fear more is what I've seen done to third party politicians in the past: media blackout.
When the big-wigs really don't want you elected, then they'll tell their media friends to just ignore you. ... Which is more damaging than any slanted critique of my stances or manufactured moral scandal could ever be. -- another reason I'm not in any way depending on traditional media advertising and publicity.
(Though, I would say 'bring it on' if they want to lambast me for animal rights. Because I'll fight back. With horribly graphic pictures of abused and neglected animals... and ask the simple question: How can you look at these and not take action for animal rights?
I'd love to see them try to keep criticizing me about animal rights after that. ^.^)
But no, I'd welcome a 'debate' about the issues.
But that's not how campaigns in this country work.
They'll ignore my stances on the issues and instead focus on things like 'Is he having sex with his girlfriend out of marriage?' 'Is he secretly gay?' 'ZOMG, he doesn't attend church services! He must be the antichrist!'
For much of those, I'm hoping a response of 'and what if I am?' will 'resonate' with regular people.
...the religious issues though... ugh... I may have to pretend to be Christian for campaign purposes. I know there's lots of people here who would absolutely refuse to vote for any non-Christian.
Aye, and that's the only reason I'd even consider running under a party banner (if they'd have me). Because lots of people, perhaps even a majority, will say, "I'm a republican, so I'm voting for the guy with an (R) next to his name, no questions asked."
They don't want to take the time to think about things.
...But I'm hoping the existing parties have overextended themselves on this. A growing majority of people no longer identify with either party, and more and more are realizing that both parties are bad.
The time could be ripe for a third option to take the stage.
*begins to get excited about the prospect*
1: That's the province of the supreme court, not a state governor. If Asked about this issue, I'd say I'm in favor of making healthcare available to all, but 'obamacare' is a horribly convoluted and inefficient way of doing so. State run free/low cost hospitals would be a better plan. Many such clinics already exist, both in private charity and state supported. Just expand such systems until they can support the need. (Such clinics already exist in Idaho -- though their services are limited and their capacity is small -- and they provide care on a sliding fee scale depending on your income. The very poor get free care, the low income people get cheap care, and medium to high-income people can go there if they choose and get full-price care.
Any scheme to provide the very poor with health care means the money will ultimately come from taxpayer pockets -- I think it would be far better for everyone involved, and far cheaper, to not do it by funneling that money through big corporations (insurance companies and private hospitals) first. Still, that's a federal issue, and a state governor would not be able to do much about it.
2: That has to be done at a federal level, unless you want a second civil war.
Still, I would take some initiatives to assert the rights states do still have.
3: Those are federal laws. I could press for reinstating those laws at a state level, but since the businesses can operate across state lines easily, it wouldn't change much.
4: I could perhaps find ways to encourage small credit unions rather than large banks. I wouldn't bet on anything decisive in that area though... just a gentle nudge, perhaps.
A fair point; care would need to be taken to differentiate between a user who shares and a proper dealer/pusher. Still, I think it could work, especially if this difference is emphasized and looked out for.
I still do like the policy of leniancy for the users in favor of going after the producers/dealers though.
And of course, the fear of violence upon being an informant would keep some mouths closed...but hopefully the policy would still bear some fruit. One dealer could sell to a whole lot of people, and it only takes one (who fears a prison sentence more than the dealer's revenge) to turn the dealer in.
Well, in the UK, you've got the advantage of being on a nice, big island. It's possible to keep the immigrants out if you don't want them.
The USA, sharing a big, poorly guarded border with Mexico, doesn't have the luxury of saying that the immigrants can't come in. (It's a lot easier to wade across the muddy little Rio Grande than it is to swim the English Channel, now isn't it?)
They're coming, no matter what.
It will be better for everyone concerned if they can be integrated into our society, subject to our laws, pay our taxes, and work for our minimum wages. So, it's better to make their immigration legal rather than illegal.
...because nothing short of a 'berlin wall' along the border, complete with minefields and machine gun towers, is going to keep the immigrants out completely. (And even then, I'd wager a few would find creative ways to slip past from time to time.)
Keeping the immigrants out isn't a realistic option. We have to make the best of what we've got.
It's much the same here.
Our Eastern Europeans are similar to your South Americans, from countries with a much lower GDP.
They can cross your border illegally, easily, and in similar contrast they can cross ours legally, easily.
An easy open door will present the same challenges it has to us in the EU with its mixture of expensive and cheaper nations, if you'll excuse such a phrase.
An amnesty of sorts may help the political situation but if you don't want the same issues we have here at the moment, don't have an easy open visa door. The UK has not been proven to have benefitted overall by the EU border relaxation.
...but that's what I'm saying. Closing the door isn't an option.
There's only an open visa door, or an open illegal immigration door.
Either way, there WILL be an open door.
But the open visa door doesn't cause an increase in crime because of the large population that doesn't report things to the police.
The open visa door doesn't tie up lots of law enforcement time and effort in immigration control.
The open visa door doesn't allow the immigrants to work for less than minimum wage, hurting the law-abiding workers even more.
The open visa door doesn't give the immigrants a free ride for social services -- it forces them to pay for it through taxes like everybody else.
The open visa door doesn't overwhelm border patrols with stopping illegal immigrants -- it lets the border patrol focus on real threats like smugglers and terrorists.
But the illegal door... the immigrants still come through it, but when they do, they take jobs for under minimum wage, not only out-competing locals due to economics, but also out-competing them legally, because the locals can't legally work for less than minimum wage: they're legally prohibited from competing fairly with the illegal immigrants.
(And though this won't go over well in the more racist parts of Idaho, who are we to say a local should have a good job and a Mexican shouldn't? They're both people; they both have needs. Why should we say that the local's needs trump the immigrant's, just because the local happened to be born here? While it may not be true of the UK, the USA was built upon bringing in immigrants and giving them a chance at 'the american dream'. Who are we to sit here and say that certain groups of people should be cut off and prohibited from pursuing that american dream?)
It's probably apples and oranges with UK/US though, so either way, good luck with your campaign.
I'm generally for the reasoned position you stand for.
The pony party!
I would vote for it.
That Would Be Cool.
I agree with what most of the things you listed, Legalizing Medical smoke would be one with out having it taxed, Most everything we buy is taxed.
Not 'medical' smoke. ALL smoke. Including, and especially, 'I want to get high' smoke.
Indeed. I see no reason why marijuana should be an exception.
I'm sorry but I most likely would not vote for you.
1) I am against raising the minimum wage. I'm actually surprised that you're for it because you're usually for small government and that's more "socialist." The fact of the matter is that raising minimum wage doesn't help anyone yet it hurts the middle class. If minimum wage is increased then the prices of everything (such as food because food production and grocery stores rely on minimum wage workers) including food, fuel, etc. will go up. So if you raise minimum wage by $1 then the poor will make another $40 a week tops (most minimum wage people don't work 40 hours a week). However, prices will rise on everything that they need and so they will spend that $40 to buy the same things that they were buying. So it doesn't help them at all. Meanwhile, the middle class hasn't gotten a raise but they're dealing with higher prices and so they're screwed. A better solution would be to invest in job training so that minimum wage people can better themselves and move onto a higher paying job. Minimum wage was never meant to be a career; it was meant to be a basic job for students and other low skilled workers.
2) You want to make the parks of Idaho nicer and so you're going to build roads all through them? I'm sorry but that's just counter-productive. It will destroy ecosystems and make them overpopulated with people. Besides, I love having to hike 7 days/50 miles to get to remote spots that hardly anyone else sees. I get views that most people don't see and I get the remoteness and, quite frankly, I work harder than most people to earn that right.
3) Again, I'm surprised that you're for drug prohibition. That's so big-government of you. I also have never understood the double standard that so many people have. You want to target dealers yet not users? Where did those users get the drugs from? They're equally as guilty. I'd rather have drugs legalized and sold by the government so that they could be regulated and have ALL drug sales revenue go towards treatment and rehabilitation. That would help users get clean.
4) I also think that gay marriage should be a vocal issue (whereas you'd mostly choose to ignore it) until every adult has the fundamental right to get married. You don't get your rights by shutting up.
On a side note, not to be an ass, but one of the poll choices is "Maybe... depends who else is running." I think that nobody should choose "Definitely" and that the people who did should have chosen the former. The reason is that choosing definitely without knowing who else is running in this hypothetical situation is ignorant. You need to know a lot about every person running to cast an informed vote. You may love ocalhoun but you never know if there's someone better out there until you meet them...